Release date: August 26, 2016
By: Niklas Forsberg
Can Mesh really do better than “Automation Baby”? The question has been asked not only by myself, but by a lot of fans in awe of the brutally high quality of the last Mesh album. Simply put, it turns out they can. Or should I maybe say equal it as I hold both of these albums in extremely high regard.
The overall sound and production on “Looking Skyward” spells big! Tunes made for vast arenas around the world. And, more importantly, songs that deserve huge venues. All the way from midtempo burner “My Protector” to electric closing theme “Once Surrounded”, Mesh manage to engage and impress. And as always with this enigmatic duo, I cannot for the life of me understand why they haven’t cracked the mainstream market at least a bit. Accessible, yet edgy and cool enough to please the people who don’t listen to commercial radio stations.
Powerful guitar stabs play with enthralling electronics and Mark Hockings vocal brilliance to create yet another piece of Mesh magic on “Looking Skyward”. Sure, it sounds pretty much like it has for the past few albums, but they keep pushing the envelope when it comes to production and song writing. Not a single filler in sight, but plenty of singles material for future releases (my guess would be they go for super catchy “The Fixer”). First single “Kill Your Darlings” does set the tone for the album, but there are more than a couple of tracks that top it in my opinion. Most people prefer their uptempo club tracks while I love the emotionally draining Mesh ballads and midtempo gems. “The Traps We Made” and “Before This World Ends” give me goosebumps every time. That said, the above mentioned “The Fixer” and “The Last One Standing” will put the fans of higher BPM numbers into an orbit of joy.
“Looking Skyward” may not be a Mesh revolution, but it’s an impressive evolving refinement that takes a lot of work. Mark and Richard have evidently poured their hearts and souls into the making of the album and their labout pays off.